Barbecue Sauce Stains Ruining Your Summer Look? Try These Stain Removal Tips

Grilling is contagious. You step outside and inhale the aroma of sizzling steak, juicy chicken, and fresh burgers from your neighbor’s yard. Soon, you’re firing up your own grill – or inviting yourself next door. The first bite is a savory reward; the second is a blob of barbecue sauce down the middle of your shirt. Oops. Got your pants, too.

How can you enjoy the feast without the mess?

Barbecue Sauce: So Good, So Hard to Remove

Whether you love Carolina or St. Louis barbecue, honey mustard or smoky mesquite, these delicious sauces can create stubborn stains. Why is it so hard to remove the evidence of a backyard get-together?

Coming Clean

Here’s the bad news: you cannot eat barbecued ribs without making a mess. It’s impossible. Other barbecued foods, while slightly less dangerous, are still capable of ruining your t-shirts, shorts, and sundresses, but there’s good news: you can remove these stains and have fresh, clean clothes to wear to the next mouth-watering party. How?

  • Get to a sink, stat! When you notice the stain, remove as much of the stain as you can. Then rinse it thoroughly with cold water. Apply the water to the back of the stain to “force” it out of the fabric.
  • Pretreat the stain. Next, apply a pretreating product. This is where you can save your clothing from the rag pile. Choose a nontoxic, biodegradable enzymatic cleaner. It contains enzymes that digest organic stains safely and effectively. Additionally, both these steps—rinsing with cold water and applying an enzymatic cleaner—will help tackle the synthetic aspects of the stain.Let the product sit on the clothing for five minutes. If it is an older stain, leave it for one hour.
  • Launder as usual. Put the clothing into your wash. If you’re concerned about the severity of the stain, you can use an enzymatic “laundry booster.” This, too, has hungry enzymes that will work to break the stains down. Simply use your usual detergent and add a half-cup of booster—a full cup for heavily soiled loads, such as when the whole family digs in and then the kids touch you with greasy, saucy hands.

What about Carpets and Upholstery?

Maybe a guest—or you!—wandered indoors and made a mess inside? No problem. Enzymatic cleaners are a bit like barbecue sauce themselves: they can go on just about anything. To remove stains from your rugs, couch, and other surfaces:

  • Blot away excess sauce.
  • Apply the enzymatic cleaner directly to the surface. Leave it for five minutes, or one hour for tough stains, and gently blot up excess. Because the cleaner is nontoxic and biodegradable, you can feel safe using it on surfaces that your kids and pets frequently touch and play on.
  • Lock the door! Keep guests out—or invest in one of those plastic couch covers like Grandma used to have.

Summertime is grilling time. Before your next backyard gathering, pick up a good enzymatic cleaner. Barbecue-sauce stains won’t stand a chance. Neither do those ribs!